Places To Go

Where are you interested in traveling? See our list for the best places to visit this season

 


We often write about travel destinations, particularly those that are wine related. This week, I wanted to flip things around a bit to ask you, our readers, where YOU are interested in going. This can mean both virtually or for a real boots-on-the-ground experience.
 
Today, I present you with some thoughts on the subject and some of the likely destinations that will enchant us all. These are some of the top enotourism destinations of the world. Let us know where you want us to focus a bit more attention, and we’ll put our crack squad together to track down the best places to dine, sleep and visit in the most popular regions.
 
This will, of course, require some selective filtering on our part to get the ball rolling. We can’t present an inclusive list of every wine destination, so here are but a few locations with the requisite tourism infrastructure to ensure a spectacular stay for wine lovers and enthusiastic novices alike. After all, it does seem that when we go on our eno-vacations, a very willing and (hopefully) enthusiastic novice is often included in the package!

Airplane image via Shutterstock

Bordeaux

One of the big daddies of the wine world, Bordeaux is jam-packed with wineries. There are many small family operations that you’ve probably never heard of, as well as the famous chateaux. This diversity really allows you to indulge a wide variety of experiences whether they be on the right or left banks of the Gironde River or in the sprawling Entre-Deux-Mers region.

The region boasts a superb tourism infrastructure. Bordeaux city is very attractive, with a wonderful riverfront. After the relatively recent completion of a thorough cleaning, the formerly grey city is now quite sparkly and full of fun shops and restaurants. The surrounding countryside boasts plenty of history. The Arcachon Bay can supply you with your fix of oysters, bay cruises and fancy beaches. Plus, it is just an hour away, if you really need to convince a less than enthusiastic partner that the place is perfect!

Bordeaux image via Shutterstock

Piedmont

One of Italy’s top wine producing regions, Piedmont is a small gem of a region with wineries that are relatively tightly packed. This is the land of Barolo and Barbaresco, of course, but it’s also the land of Barbera, Dolcetto, Pelaverga, Freisa and Moscato d’Asti. There is a wide range of wines on offer throughout the region in many styles and at virtually all price points.

Alba, the regional “big city,” is actually very small, with a few lovely restaurants and a very pleasant pedestrian core. There, you will find a rather compelling farmers market each weekend, replete with a satellite organic market! If your traveling partner is not too into wine, you better hope that food is his or her weakness. While the region boasts some truly incredible culinary treasures (truffles, anyone?), there is not a whole heck of a lot to do other than eat and drink. Of course, wasting away a few hours each day in the piazza while eating lunch and enjoying a long afternoon espresso is not too shabby a day in my book. Torino, another recipient of a recent facelift, is about an hour away and is a very attractive place to spend a few days indulging yourself with loved ones.

Piedmont Vineyard image via Shutterstock

Queenstown, New Zealand

Central Otago is but one region in New Zealand, but it is probably the most prepared for hosting tourists. This small village is an international tourism destination, helped by the land of hobbits and lords that lies to the west. Yes, just west of Central Otago is where the stunning scenery that captured our imaginations in the “The Lord of the Rings” films was filmed.

Pinot Noir, and to a lesser extent Chardonnay and Riesling, is the wine to taste while down here. There are plenty of fabulous wines so you could spend a week here with no problem, though Queenstown might begin to seem small after that much time. The accommodations are top notch, as is the dining, and there are plenty of outdoor activities with which to while away the time. The region offers a rather special blend of highbrow and lowbrow pastimes that make it ideal for a family get away, assuming of course that Queenstown is convenient for you. In my book, it’s still worth making the effort to visit!

New Zealand image via Shutterstock

Napanoma

It always pisses people off when Napa and Sonoma are lumped together like this, but I have my reasons. Also, they are adjacent to each other. You see, there are plenty of great wineries in both counties, and I’d like to visit them all! The rub is that you can’t. You have to choose a place to stay that will give you the best access to all of them. For me that is Sonoma, which also can be less expensive and less crowded.

There are endless restaurants to explore in the region, along with lovely accommodations, but they don’t call this wine country for nothing. While there are some splendid drives worth taking, a visit to Napanoma is really a gastronomic tour.

Napanoma image via Shutterstock

Willamette Valley

Oregon’s wine scene is exploding. The majority of it is centered in the Willamette Valley, formerly the scene of bucolic farming communities. Unfortunately for some more demanding wine travelers, the region’s tourism industry has yet to catch up with the level of tourists the wine industry tends to attract. There are a few spots both to stay and to dine that are worthy wine country destinations, but the draw here is the wine. The selection is made up of brilliant Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for the most part, with Riesling, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc also making things attractive.

Willamette is also a scant hour or so from Portland, one of the most exciting cities in the U.S. Portland is home to an amazing selection of inventive restaurants, top notch accommodations, amazing neighborhoods full of galleries and shops worthy of exploration, an attractive riverfront, great mass transit and a stunning hiking path through the city’s backyard! In short, it has everything a destination city should have. There are even a few wineries in the city, if you want to make wine an adjunct to a “real” vacation.

Willamette Valley image via Shutterstock

Let Us Know

Which is your favorite vacation spot? Please leave a comment to let us know which destinations you love and of course those which we’ve missed!

We’re all part of the greater wine community and the only way we learn is from each other, so bring the travel destinations on!

Airport image via Shutterstock

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Comments

  • Snooth User: beemine1
    234911 50

    What about Charlottesville, VA and the surrounding counties? The landscape is beautiful and there are many hotels and B&Bs to stay in. People forget about Virginia wines, they are up and coming.

    Sep 24, 2012 at 1:07 PM


  • Snooth User: rosebrien
    79281 34

    I would also strongly recommend the Finger Lakes area of NY State. Much more diverse ladscape than you would expect, and a very strong food and wine culture centered around the hip college town of Ithaca,NY. A truly beautiful and accomodating vacation destination with great wine and food.

    Sep 24, 2012 at 2:47 PM


  • Yes... Virginia wine country! Check out this article on Snooth -> http://www.snooth.com/articles/expl...

    Sep 24, 2012 at 2:47 PM


  • Snooth User: OUBAL
    579721 2

    Robertson - Boland region of the western Cape, South Africa. Breath-taking hospitality and delicious wines at reasonable prices. Scenery similar to Napa http://www.robertsonwinery.co.za/

    Sep 25, 2012 at 12:04 AM


  • I would agree with Rosebrien above, the Finger Lakes region in upstate New York is a wonderful trip!

    Sep 25, 2012 at 6:54 AM


  • Mendoza, Argentine. Beautiful landscapes, excelent food, and plenty of wine of course

    Sep 25, 2012 at 9:16 AM


  • Snooth User: UriGillan
    226165 241

    I must say that Toscana (Toscany) is my favorite, qne qf the world best places for traveling from the Sea shore to San Jimignano and then to Montepulcino or to Fireze. And the wine...

    Sep 25, 2012 at 11:04 AM


  • Try the Texas Hill Country west of Austin. Fredericksburg, Texas has a great B&B infrastructure and over 30 wineries within easy driving distance http://texaswinetrail.com/.

    Sep 25, 2012 at 1:44 PM


  • Snooth User: UriGillan
    226165 241

    The Texas advice is interesting and I will certaily try to use it next tume I will be in The USA.

    Sep 25, 2012 at 1:58 PM


  • We loved the Colchagua Valley outside of Santiago, even in the rainy autumn weather--perfect for trying their exquisite reds!

    Sep 26, 2012 at 5:14 AM


  • The Texas Hill Country, and not just Fredericksburg area...don't miss the top of the hill country around Marble Falls and San Saba...the Sonoma of Texas.

    Sep 26, 2012 at 9:55 AM


  • We just held an event at the Allison Inn & Spa in the Willamette Valley -- it's only three years old and was built with wine tourism in mind. Beautiful hotel with a first class restaurant with a chef who earned his stripes at the French Laundry. We also enjoyed a wonderful meal at the Joel Palmer House nearby. And of course, the winery visits were fantastic.

    Sep 27, 2012 at 4:28 PM


  • Snooth User: Tiakittie
    1041141 89

    Don't Forget the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada! Gorgeous scenery, first rate vineyards and wineries and all the fresh BC fruit you can handle!!!

    Oct 26, 2012 at 1:38 PM


  • Snooth User: Itzi Hache
    934967 22

    Rioja Alavesa, Basque Country Spain, wonderful wine, fantastic food, friendly people, just one hour from Bilbao

    Feb 05, 2013 at 7:54 AM


  • Snooth User: UriGillan
    226165 241

    I will be in Rioja tourig wineries next month with a few friends. We are going to be in Rioja and Ribera de Duero 8 days, and we have booked ourselvs at 18 winerries in tese two areas.

    Mar 03, 2013 at 2:54 PM


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